Long-Term Unemployment Benefits Are Officially Expired

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WASHINGTON, (CNN) -- Long-term unemployment benefits are officially expired as of  Saturday after Congress failed to extend the federal program.

1.3 million Americans received the benefits. On average, they've been getting 300 dollars a week.

Extended unemployment benefits, beyond the usual 26 weeks, were started during the Bush administration to help Americans hit by the recession.

Since 2008 they've been renewed 11 times.

Congress failed to pass an extension in the budget deal, teeing up a nasty fight for the new year.

Some Republicans say it's time to end the program all together. They say it's too expensive. A year's extension costs 25 billion dollars. Republicans also argue people have gotten too dependent on the benefits, and the economy is strong enough now without them.

Democrats say benefit checks get spent right away, spending that's necessary to boost the economic recovery.

Democratic Senator Jack Reed and Republican Senator Dean Heller are working on a plan to restore the benefits. However, House Republicans oppose the 25-billion dollar price tag without cutting spending somewhere else.

Majority Leader Harry Reid plans the first vote on the unemployment benefits bill when the Senate returns in January.

Alabama's most recent unemployment rate is 6.2 percent, as compared to the national rate of 7.0 percent. Huntsville's unemployment rate is 4.8 percent.


  • Wake Up

    The Huntsville unemployment is so low because we benefit from the part of the government not being cut — military spending! We are just a different type of government dependency than others!

  • Dr. Cecil Hawgthorn

    Absolutely right. Left or right, most people are sheep and thus stupid, probably the same people who are overweight and poor but vote republican because they think they should. I wrote a case study called “The Hogs that could vote” it’s a big deal

  • David Eli Smith

    Shut up boi you think bc u got school learnin in ur brain u can talk to me like that? I’ll whoop you! I’m a painter, I made this country so you don’t tell me I didn’t make it. I paint houses I’m skilled like doctor or surgeon you dumb head stupid Cecil loser

  • preacher

    Obama(nation) is turning America into a “entitlement” nation. Libs R Drones. Why? Because Obama(nation) told them so. Amen…

  • Chesty Pulled

    Shut up chuck Norris, you’re a wimp, your a actor just like Reagan! You were never knee deep in the stinky stuff. You are like the rest of the fat lazy repubs and dems. Quit dividing us !

  • Johnny Rychuss

    For people who did not take advantage of this program, Giving them smaller amounts of money so they spend it all at once is a horrible policy. They should receive one maybe two lump sums to get back on their feet and end it after that.

    • Johnny Rychuss

      I meant by 2 lump sums for people not scamming the system, Instead of drawn out payments. Some people need to buy big items to be employed, Such as automobiles. And if they only give people enough to spend as they need it, They become dependent on their allowance.

  • common sense

    Everything has a price tag. Eliminate the child tax credit loophole that allows illegal immigrants to claim their illegal children then use this money to fund the unemployment extension.

  • steve k

    6 months at 30000/yr rates for unemployed individuals is too much. After 3 months it should become obvious that life adjustments are necessary. Moving to new area where jobs are available, lowering the standard of living; house, etc. The 2008 temporary extension lasting until 2014 shows u gov’t ineptitude. Only the pathetic pandering dems could turn this into a permanent handout and drain on society.

  • Mary

    Glad this is over… Now people HAVE to get out and get a job instead of depending on my tax dollars…No more excuses like, “I can make more off unemployment than to work for your company that pays $8.50 per hour”. Guess what people, now you can’t!!!!!!

  • jamison-jones

    Well, you can’t say anything about something you have no clue about. If you are still employed, thank God all the time. if you have no job and you’ve been trying to find one, keep pressing. if you’ve been on unemployment and its been your ‘lifeline’ well, i ask God to bless congress to reinstate them immediately. i’ve been on both ends and well, i PRAY for those that are affected that God holds you up and things improve. TO YOU IGNORANT SOUNDING FOOLS, WAIT FOR YOUR TURN you’ll know what it means.

    • putter

      The key is life line to some people , not a way of life for some people, at some point you have to take control of your on life , and put on your big boy pants.

  • jamison-jones

    See, thats the problem. I agree but you cannot know fully whats going in some one’s life till you talk to them or u experience being unemployed. Reserve judgment. Again, if you have things going on well for you, keep on. If someone’s ‘lifeline’ is being threatened, lets pray for them. otherwise,if their benefits are cut, all kinds of problems are going to increase by a factor of about 100! robberies, homicides, thefts, homelessness, drunks, addiction. The existing structures of rehabilitaion or welfare are going to be overwhelmed and guess what, you FOOLS who keep talking s***t here will be the first victims in your white pickel fences. THINK.

  • putter

    By your post, I guess all the homicides, and robberies, and welfare, are caused by peoples LIFE LINE being cut. Care to expand on your meaning of ( first victims in your white picket fences)

  • Mary

    The sad thing about this is people who are and have been on this unemployment crap believe they are entitled to it. They have chosen NOT to work because they get paid more on unemployment than they could working a real job. People on unemployment have gotten lazy, the government paying for them to stay home…I know of a company hiring right now for $8.50 per hour but no one wants to work because again…they make more on unemployment. This stops now for some and should stop now for all. There are plenty of fast food , grocery stores, department stores, warehouse places that are hiring, so for those that are actually losing their unemployment, get off your high horse and go apply for one of these places and work for a living…

  • jamison-jones

    Right. Look, that check whenever it comes sustains somebody in whatever capacity. That means, somebody is not deprived or doesn’t have to worry or struggle about where and how to get what they ‘need.’ That also means, i don’t have to worry about my house being broken into by someone looking for money to ‘score’ or for any reason. Point is, the degree to which some folk go to get what they need is diminished to a certain point. Fact is social strife in numbers is lessened and therefore ‘everybody’ lives in peace, to a large extent anyway. Police, sheriffs, jails, rehab centers, manna houses and what not are not overwhelmed. This check maintains social order in so many ways. CONGRESS NEEDS TO ACT QUICKLY. its not an OBAMA problem…its a social issue.

  • jamison-jones

    oh,’ by white pickel fence’..its usually those that are doing ‘well’ that tend to sound like gas bags on here. they have it going on for them and they wonder why everybody else can’t be like them, they probably live in nice houses, have steady jobs..you know. so everybody who doesn’t relate to them in any way is a nuisance…

    • putter

      Thanks ,for clearing that up ?now a days you never know what some nut job is thinking. sorry, I am not up on street slang! to busy working , to help support the people in the wagon.

  • jamison-jones

    Thats me. I too have a job and don’t feel that way cuz i was once unemployed and drew unemployment. it kept me afloat until things opened up but getting off of it wasn’t easy. I had to maintain my house, keep up with my bills. That meant any job i got i had to ask for a ‘sign on’ bonus to be in ‘good standing’ until my first check.For those going through that debacle my prayers are with you. It’ll be alright. KEEP THE FAITH.

  • jamison-jones

    MARY, thats just oversimplifying the issue. Its the usual banter you would expect from people like you. its not as simple as you think. I guess you just have to be unemployed at some point in your life and you’ll appreciate the whole roller-coster of this issue much less that check. For now, if everything is ok, just Praise The Lord till your lungs fall out.

  • Mary

    Excuse me dear ignorant person…I have been unemployed and I still don’t have the finer things in life as you call it. It’s not all picket fences for me but I “choose” the life I live, I put my family first and by saying that I mean when I was unemployed I was out walking the streets taking a job at burger king and a job delivering pizzas because it meant I could provide a house for my children and food in their bellies plus I wasnt a lazy human being waiting on the government to hand me something just because I couldn’t find a job paying what I “thought” I was worth because I have a college education. I was willing to work what ever job I could find earning what money I could get to provide for my family. It’s people like you that keep this country in the crap hole it is in because you “think” you are owed this government assistance.

  • Huntsville

    Well its about time!! Half on Section 8, boyfriends staying for free, getting food stamps and living it up on the weekend! Oh yeah. I forgot about all the assistance that were received from church organizations! Half don’t even look for jobs because its better for them not to work, and draw unemployment!! Thanks Obama!!

  • jamison-jones

    Mary, then whats the problem? Obviously you’ve been a beneficiary of the program and now you are here criticizing other people who are on it! Where is the hypocrisy? Just because you had the guts to go do whatever it is that you had to do to get off of it doesn’t mean everybody has those kinds of guts.For some, like you and i, got off of it because we dared to and i had a skill set that i couldnot let go to waste. other people might not be as fortunate as you and i have been. In such a situation, you should implore all your experience and just well, LET THEM BE. some how they’ll figure it out on their own. Unemployemnet has been around for a longtime and i’m quite sure it’ll be around for a while even after we are all out of this world. Leave them people alone.Thats how God is providing for them. peace

  • Mary

    I never said I took unemployment, I said I was unemployed. You are right about one thing, I did have the guts to get out and take whatever job I could find to provide for my family. Some people dont have the guts, as you call it but to me it’s not about guts, it’s about providing for yourself and your family without the dependance of our already washed up government to do it for you. People don’t need “guts”, they need to go without so that they see that sitting around on their rear ends isnt going to help them. The only one that will help them is themselves. No one is entitled to anything but there are lots of people who believe they are and until they are proven otherwise they are going to continue to accept the government helping them while the rest of us who had the “guts” to find a job work our rear ends off trying to still make ends meet so they can live the good life on my tax dollars. All I’m saying is I’m glad it was cut so now maybe, just maybe people will realize they have to work for what they get adn get out of the lazy zone and get a job doing whatever it takes.

  • jamison-jones

    Right. I hope they do go out and find jobs. Its the right thing to do. Lets see how it all plays out on the social fabric. My prayers go out to all those affected and i ask God’s Grace to be with them because its not easy when you have kids and other commitments. Peace

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